Jennifer Ann Hand-Up not Out Fund

Going on four years ago, my cousin lost her father. He was an eccentric and extraordinary man in many
ways--and one of my favorite people.  He was not perfect and his life was not easy. Nor was the illness that
lead to his death.  But there was my cousin, his daughter, Jennifer Ann, literally by his side day and night for years.

Before my uncle's death, Jennifer Ann cared for her mom. She was a sweet lady, whose memories slowly faded as her health declined. But my aunt, like my uncle, never forgot who that woman was by their beds. She was the one who loved them by feeding them, bathing them, coordinating all of their care and keeping them company. 

Caring for her beloved parents for over a decade left Jennifer Ann understandably heartbroken. And traumatized. If you have ever been a full-time family caregiver, you might be able to relate to this. Her own health has suffered, both physically and emotionally.  But she is brave. She tries to be cheerful. She continues to volunteer to help others when she can. 

A "Jane of all trades" kind of woman, Jennifer Ann found a job in her field of training--horticulture--about 6 months after her dad's passing.  It's a nice job, with benefits and nice people. It pays a going wage, but not really enough to cover her expenses--and she's frugal! To supplement her income, she takes on odd jobs for neighbors, her church and others in her community, working evenings, weekends and holidays.

But still, she remains among the working poor. The very hard-working poor.  She has done everything in her power to cut down her expenses.

I help her with things like food and house supplies each month. She goes to food pantries. But still she needs help. She's not eligible for public assistance because she has a job and a salary. 

So, I am turning to Go Fund Me donors like you. When I suggested Go Fund Me her immediate response was "No." But this morning I received a heartbreaking (yet also heartwarming) text from her:

"I hate to ask for charity...but if if I was able to think clearly from less worry and anxiety, I would be a whole lot more capable of paying it forward...I really am quite challenged in respect to my ability to hang on and cope for much longer..."

I cried when I read this because she thinks in terms of "paying it forward." That's REALLY what she wants.  Even in her need, she wants to help others.  Her goal is to be rid of her own concerns in order to help others. That, above all else, describes Jennifer Ann.

That's why I have named this fund "The Jennifer Ann Hand Up not Out Fund."

From my perspective, she deserves to be the one who gets "paid forward" for all her dedication to her parents alone. Not to mention the charitable work I've witnessed her do over the years. 

Please give now. And please share with your friends!

Thank you.

p.s. I have not used my cousin's full name to protect her privacy and her pride.

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Organizer

Christine Kittilstad 
Organizer
Herndon, VA
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